App Focus - Holiday Survival Guide

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Enjoy the holidays without packing on the pounds!

I designed our Holiday Survival Guide app to provide some simple tools to help you to get through the holidays without gaining weight or avoiding the fun entirely. Sticking to a diet is tough and trying to do it during holiday parties is quite frankly a losing proposition. This is meant to be a joyous time and trying to stay disciplined reduces your own joy and makes you grumpy around your loved ones. It’s OK to take a break here and there and simply enjoy the time with friends and family. You can’t do as much damage as you think in one party, and you can always get right back on track the next morning.

That said, the point of Holiday Survival Guide is to further reduce the impact from those holiday parties on your waistline. I loaded it up with over 30 diet tips to help you make slight adjustments to your diet that will make a big difference, but the real focus of the app is on the included workouts.

The holidays can be a busy and stressful time. When your schedule is packed, one of the first things to get set aside is your workout, but that only makes the stress worse. Controlling your stress is a big part of keeping the holiday weight gain at bay. Stress and lack of sleep raises your cortisol levels. High levels of circulating cortisol not only leads to weight gain, but it also suppresses your immune system. Exercise reduces your cortisol levels, improves your immune response, and keeps you healthy during cold and flu season.

I wanted to give people some effective workouts that can be done in a minimal amount of time, so I created four main programs in Holiday Survival Guide:

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Quick Start: Working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach improves your insulin sensitivity throughout the day. This will make you less likely to gain body fat even if your diet isn’t the healthiest. Since finding the time for a daily workout can be tough, I made this quick, 9-minute bodyweight circuit workout that actually starts lying down so you can begin from your bed and work your way to your feet. Not only will it speed up your metabolism for the rest of the day, but studies show that people that start with a workout are more likely to make healthier eating choices throughout the day. You don’t need to be perfect all day, but the more good choices you make during the day, the less impactful that holiday meal will be at the end of the day.

Tone and Burn: This is probably one of the most effective fat burning routines you can do. I honestly regret sticking this program in an app called Holiday Survival Guide because it led to people missing out on this terrific workout the rest of the year. I basically designed this program as a cardio solution for people who hate cardio. This circuit workout goes back and forth between cardio and strength training every few minutes to keep your heart rate elevated and your body mobilizing and burning stored body fat even when you’re lifting weights. Resistance training normally isn’t very good at burning body fat and cardio isn’t normally very good at improving your muscle tone. This combination circuit provides the best of both worlds without any of the drawbacks, plus the constant changes make the time fly by. Even the cool down is a calorie burner! It’s a quick and incredibly effective workout, and once again, if you can do it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, it will really help your body process excess calories throughout the rest of the day.

Mega Tone and Burn: This one uses all the same principles as the Tone and Burn workout; it’s just a longer version. This is the perfect morning routine before a big holiday meal. Studies have shown completing a high calorie workout in the morning before a major binge-fest significantly limits holiday weight gain. As always, fasted training the morning before your holiday meal will make a huge difference.

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Relaxation Stretching: Stress and lack of sleep not only makes you feel miserable but it sets your hormone’s up for weight gain. The final component to help you through the holidays is a comprehensive stretching program that will help you unwind at the end of the night and set you up for a terrific night’s sleep. The workouts start sitting and then slowly move to a lying position so you can do them in your bed to really help you relax. They’re only about 9 minutes long. That isn’t a lot of time, and it probably would have taken you twice as long to fall asleep without it. Do something good for your body at the end of the night and you’ll wake up refreshed and ready for the next day.

Enjoy this time

I’m all for healthy eating, but as someone who mainly eats clean, I can tell you that abstaining from all the great food during a holiday party is a bummer. In my experience with myself and my clients, the best way to enjoy your holidays and keep your weight in control is to give yourself on edge during most of the day and then relax during your event. Don’t go crazy at the party, but realize there is only so much damage you can do at one event. Workout when you can, eat clean when you can, and have a great holiday season.

Claudia B

I’m really enjoying the Holiday Survival app- is there a way to save my program so I do have to create a new one each time I log in? I’d really like to be able to skip the prelims and get right to the workout!

Chris trainer Chris K

Sorry about the issue. It’s an iOS 8 bug that we’re fixing in an update. In the meantime, if you delete the app and download a fresh copy from the app store, it tends to fix this problem. Don’t worry, you won’t be charged again.

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